A large number of vehicles belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) entered Syria from the Kafrlosin border crossing, Al-Arabiya reported on Feb. 2, two days after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey may launch a military operation in Idlib.
The first convoy consists of 40 tanks, armored vehicles, troop carriers, and military and logistic equipment, Al-Arabiya cited the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.
The three convoys are heading towards Idlib and Aleppo, amid reports that Ankara will militarize the Aleppo-Latakia road in a sign of rising tensions between the two countries supporting opposing sides of the Syrian conflict, it also said.
Erdoğan on Jan. 31 said that Turkey may launch a military operation in Syria’s Idlib region unless fighting there is “quickly halted.”
On Jan. 31, Syrian army forces battled extremists and moderate opposition forces on the outskirts of Idlib’s Saraqib, which has been nearly deserted following two weeks of heightened bombardment, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russian airpower, have made rapid advances in the Idlib region, the last major opposition-held stronghold in Syria’s nearly nine-year war.
If Saraqib falls in the hands of the government, it would be the second strategic town in Idlib province, after Maarat al-Numan, to be recaptured by army troops this week.
On Jan. 31, the Kremlin said Russia was fully compliant with its obligations in Idlib, but that it was deeply concerned about what it said were “aggressive militant attacks” on Syrian government forces and Russia’s Hmeimim airbase.